Rhododendron serrulatum
Swamp Azalea/Sweet Azalea

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Swamp Azalea/Sweet Azalea
Rhododendron serrulatum

Swamp azalea has the unique characteristic of being a summer blooming native rhododendron, with flowering beginning in late July, and some plants continuing to bloom throughout the fall. The small, white flowers have a beautiful, spicy fragrance and chances are you’ll smell the flowers before you see them. They attract bees and other beneficial insects. Its architectural form adds winter interest and provides some cover for birds and other wildlife. Prefers moist, acidic, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. It will not tolerate standing water. 

Note: Rhododendron serrulatum is sometimes grouped together with R. viscosum but many experts still see a difference in bloom time, bud size and more. 

Exceptionally fragrant white flowers bloom in mid- to late summer
Birds eat the seed and find shelter in the branches
A very nice addition to the back of the border
Prefers moist soils but will tolerate occasional dry periods
Swamp azalea can develop an excellent red fall color

Native Range

Found near swamps, bogs and stream margins.

Interesting Facts

This plant is also called hammocksweet azalea and is native to swampy areas of Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. A hammock, a variation on the word hummock, is a little hill in a swamp. The hill supports the azalea because it is slightly drier. These hills are surrounded by mucky water and alligators like to doze on hammocks.


Ideally, azaleas and rhododendrons like morning sun and filtered shade during the hottest part of the day. They can tolerate more sun if moisture is available. They prefer evenly moist yet well-drained soil, making them perfect for a woodland slope where the water would drain well. Rhododendrons and azaleas need slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter. Mulching helps keep the soil cool and moist. Prune after flowering if needed. 

Mature Size: 10-15ft. Wide x -in. Tall

Hardiness Zone: 6-8

Sun Exposure: Part Shade to Full Shade

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